2018 BMW 3-Series vs. Its Competition

2018 BMW 3-Series
Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor

The BMW 3-Series is locked in a perennial struggle with Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class—and we dare say it’s losing.

The BMW has one ace in the hole: a rear-drive 340i with a manual transmission should be on every enthusiast shopper’s short list to drive.

The Audi A4 is more technologically advanced, with standard all-wheel drive, but we like the 330i’s turbo-4 more.

The Cadillac ATS is enthusiastic, if not somewhat rougher around the corners.

The Lexus IS and Infiniti Q50 are also-rans in the category for now, mostly hamstrung by finicky infotainment systems or lackluster performance across the board.

2018 BMW 3-Series2018 BMW 3-Series
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2018 Audi A42018 Audi A4
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2018 Cadillac ATS2018 Cadillac ATS
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2018 Infiniti Q502018 INFINITI Q50
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2018 Lexus IS 350 F Sport2018 Lexus IS
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2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class (C300 Coupe)2018 Mercedes-Benz C Class
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Quick Specs
6.7
The 2018 BMW 3-Series makes its strongest case in performance for luxury compact buyers’ attentions.
8.0
The 2018 Audi A4 and Allroad are sophisticated luxury cars with few glaring faults—and lots of commendable features, particularly the high-tech Virtual Cockpit.
6.8
The Cadillac ATS remains a highly desirable underdog with its terrific ride and handling and willing powertrains. It's as fun-to-drive as any compact luxury sedan.
7.0
The 2018 Infiniti Q50 is powerful, well-equipped luxury sedan that doesn't quite match up to Germany's finest yet.
6.7
The Lexus IS needs more powertrain guts, and more styling glory, to tackle the cars it wants to take down.
7.5
Very expensive and still not very large, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class nonetheless leads its luxury niche with fabulous style and fantastic power and grip.
MSRP From     
$34,900$36,000N/A$35,200$38,210$40,250
Gas Mileage     
20 MPG City / 43 MPG Hwy24 MPG City / 37 MPG Hwy19 MPG City / 32 MPG Hwy19 MPG City / 32 MPG Hwy17 MPG City / 33 MPG Hwy
Engine     
Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4N/AIntercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4
EPA Class     
Compact CarsCompact CarsN/AMid-Size CarsCompact CarsCompact Cars
Style Name     
320i Sedan2.0 TFSI ultra Premium Plus S Tronic FWDN/A2.0t PURE RWDIS 300 F Sport RWDC 300 Sedan
Drivetrain     
Rear Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveN/ARear Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
55N/A555
Passenger Doors     
N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Body Style     
SedanSedanN/ASedanSedanSedan
Transmission     
Automatic w/ODAuto-Shift Manual w/ODN/AAutomatic w/ODAutomatic w/ODAutomatic w/OD
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2018 BMW 3-Series vs. 2018 Audi A42018 BMW 3-Series vs. 2018 Cadillac ATS2018 BMW 3-Series vs. 2018 INFINITI Q502018 BMW 3-Series vs. 2018 Lexus IS2018 BMW 3-Series vs. 2018 Mercedes-Benz C Class